To the Editor:
The Bowling Green City Schools Board of Edyucation did not err and used good judgment in its recent decision to not approve of release time for students to leave school for religious classes elsewhere.
Parents who request release time do not realize that even though they aren’t asking for religious instruction during school hours, they are asking the school to sanction this. Essentially the school would be subsidizing this time release.
When I taught we had less than six hours a day in the classroom. That is a small chunk of time out of the day. It seems like parents could work around that for other activities. Suppose a parent wants release time for their child to leave school early for a baby sitting job thinking this will teach him/her to be responsible. Where do you draw the line? Religious instruction can be easily done on Saturdays and/or after school. That is what my parents did.
As for the justification that this religious schooling will reinforce values such as honesty, truthfulness, respect and integrity and responsibility, teachers do this every day.
We had rules: Don’t cheat, keep your eyes on your own test paper, no foul language in this room, respect your classmates, no late assignments even if the dog did chew your paper, etc. Over 35 years I somehow ended up with 11 commandments in my classroom. Very few students strayed from them.
Ultimately, the groundwork for inculcating values is at home in the early years of a child’s life. Schools and churches and boy scouts, etc. can only reinforce what parents have done. A kindergarten teacher once told me: if a 5-year-old didn’t know the meaning of the word “no” by the time she got the child, she knew she was in for trouble.
This country was founded on separation of church and state and it should remain so to accommodate our patchquilt differing faiths.
Rose Hess Retired teacher